Red Wings' Dylan Larkin likely to miss game vs. Bruins for 'personal reasons'

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Boston — The Dylan Larkin saga continues.

The Red Wings' captain didn't partake in Thursday's morning skate, and was scheduled to miss his second consecutive game for "personal reasons," coach Jeff Blashill said.

Red Wings center Dylan Larkin likely will miss Thursday night's game in Boston for "personal reasons," coach Jeff Blashill said.

Blashill didn't shed any new light on the absence, basically repeating, in various ways, an identical response he's given for a few days.

"It's the same exact comment that I had the other day," Blashill said after Thursday's morning skate. "Right now he's away for personal reasons and I'll leave it at that. I do not anticipate Dylan being available (Thursday),"

Larkin played in Saturday's game in Toronto, playing team-high in minutes among the forwards (21 minutes 47 seconds) and took a team-high six shots.

The Wings had a day off Sunday, as they moved on to the next stop on the road trip, Montreal.

The Wings practiced Monday in Montreal, with no Larkin on the ice, and Blashill termed it a "maintenance day," a term in the hockey world implying to rest a sore body or minor injury.

Blashill has categorized Larkin's absence as "personal reasons" the last several days, with no sign of Larkin on the ice.

Larkin was injured in April last season, suffering a neck injury that required brief hospitalization and forcing Larkin to wear a halo for a short period, after getting crosschecked in the neck area by Dallas forward Jamie Benn during a faceoff.

Larkin said it was a difficult period in that he wasn't able to do much of the physical training or recreational things he would normally do for a portion of the summer.

But Larkin was able to get on the ice for the start of training camp in September, though he was brought along slowly over the three-week period.

Larkin was suspended for one game after taking a hit near his head area opening night by Tampa Bay's Mathieu Joseph. Larkin threw a punch at Joseph's direction, after being to be hurt on the play. Larkin didn't miss any games, other than the one-game suspension, though.

The Wings conclude the four-game road trip they're currently on Saturday in Buffalo, before returning home with a game Sunday against Vegas at Little Caesars Arena.

Struggling power play

The Wings ignited a lot of hope in regards to their power play during the exhibition season.

But that is the rub, right there. It was the exhibition season, often against opposing lineups that were stacked with minor-league players, and whatever occurred statistically needed to be taken with a grain of salt.

The Wings stood 25th overall in the NHL on Thursday morning, with a 14.3% success rate, going only 3-for-28 in their last eight games.

The unit has been a source of frustration over the last several seasons, and it's beginning to hurt the Wings again.

“Anything we had going in exhibition is exhibition, and we certainly recognize that,” Blashill said. “The reality is you really have to be patient and judge things over a long period of time and that long period of time isn’t 10 games. We’ll continue to work at it and try on a nightly basis to get better on all of our stuff, including our power play.”

Slow start

Forward Pius Suter was expected to inject offense while centering the second line, and Suter, too, was a player who stood out during the exhibition season.

But in the opening 10 games of the regular season, Suter had one goal and one assist, with a minus-2 rating. Playing, normally, with Robby Fabbri and Filip Zadina, the line has created chances, but hasn't been able to consistently get goals.

"Sutes has played pretty well," Blashill said. "The point total, when you're a center man who distributes the puck, you're dependent on how much the wingers put goals in. Not that he can't score goals; he can. But that'll dictate it a little bit.

"He has spent time on the power play, but not exclusively, and that'll help dictate points.  When Fabs, Sutes and Zadina have been a line, it's a line that has created chances, they just haven't quite scored enough. I'm not concerned with it. Sutes has played pretty good hockey and I've been happy with him as an addition to our team."

Twitter: @tkulfan